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Dabur banks on rural move

Guwahati, June 6: Dabur India Ltd is banking on a rural project to strengthen its consumer base in the Northeast by making its new products available in the villages.

“We kicked off Project Rural a couple of years back to directly reach out to rural consumers through our sub-stockists and points of sale in the Northeast. The villages have been a key growth area and the project has yielded the desired result as far as new product development is concerned,” Soumitra Saha, zonal head (Northeast), told The Telegraph.

Under the project, the fast-moving consumer goods major is covering Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

“We started with Assam, which has posted the highest growth, followed by Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal and Manipur. The idea was to target villages with a population of 4,000 and beyond. We also target areas where our competitors do not have much of a presence. This year, we will explore the rural areas in Nagaland,” Saha said.

The company today added two more products in its digestive confectionery space, Hajmola Chuzkara, a first-of-its-kind semi-liquid candy, and Natkhat Amrud, a variant of Hajmola candy. “The products have been made and packaged to make them appealing to children in the age group of four to 14. The strategy last year was to reposition our digestive products into sweeter and tastier variants. With a sales team existing in the rural areas, the products will be easily available in the villages and small towns of the Northeast,” Ayan Chaudhuri, brand head, Hajmola, said during the launch of the two products here. “We plan to launch our activation through mass media campaigns to make these candies popular among children. Thereafter, we will target 50 top schools across the region,” he added.

One of the five flagship brands of Dabur, Hajmola, enjoys a 50 per cent share of the branded digestive tablets market in India. Over 2.4 crore Hajmola tablets are consumed daily in the country.

In the Northeast, the brand enjoys a monopoly, with an over 90 per cent market share. “It would be between 10 and 20 lakh tablets in the Northeast,” Chaudhuri said.

The over Rs 9,000-crore confectionery market in India is one of the fastest growing markets. It has witnessed an increase in consumer base because of the growing gifting culture and the use of confectionery products as a replacement for sweets. The rural market has also started contributing towards its growth.